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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 15, 2017- Harness racing favored Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno, $3.50) did not disappoint Sunday afternoon, handily winning Yonkers Raceway's $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Forwardly-placed from post position No. 6, in his featured trot debut (three of the 11 starters broke early), Rubber Duck was actually beaten to the early punch. Red Hot Herbie, starting directly outside of 'Duck,' had the first lead before yielding to the subject of this story. Rubber Duck made his lead just at a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :59.3 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters. There was a minimal challenge from Luck O The Irish (Matt Kakaley) going toward the 1:58.2 milepost, but Rubber Duck disposed that and opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He widened in the lane, defeating 'Herbie' by 2¼ lengths in 2:27.3 for the mile-and-a-quarter. Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan), Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For Rubber Duck, a now-5-year-old son of Muscle Mass co-owned by Albertans Blair and Erna Corbeil and trained by Richard Johnson, he's won both of his season starts. The exacta paid $17.80, the triple returned $65.50 and the superfecta paid $405. Sunday's Pick 5 wager, beginning with a double-carryover of $6,426.84, attracted $11,029 of fresh investments. The winning quintet (1/2/2/7/3) returned $14,698.75 for the single winning half-a-buck selector. Sunday also offered the first 'New York, New York Double' of the season, with the winning combination of 5-Lockdown (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 1-Lo Rail Crossing (Yonkers' 6th race) returning $14.70 for every correct $1 wager (total pool $6,553) Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 14, 2017- Roland N Rock and harness racing driver Jordan Stratton launched a decisive backside move Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth-from assigned post position No. 2-among the half-dozen, Roland N Rock watched as 11-10 choice Limelight Beach (George Brennan) made the lead around P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett). Early intervals of :27.1 and a flat 57 seconds should have served the leader well, but alas, nope. Roland N Rock moved at the leader by the 1:25.1 three-quarters, meeting no pushback whatsoever. 'Roland' opened a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, then held off the rival he dragged in-a last-early Blood Brother (Scott Zeron)-by a neck in 1:53.1. P H Supercam was a trapped third, with Sports Bettor (Dan Dube) and Somewhere Fancy (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Limelight Beach retreated to last. For second choice Roland N Rock, a now-5-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding co-owned by Connie & Duane Roland trained by Rob Harmon, it was a season-debuting victory and it was win 39 from 71 lifetime starts. The exacta paid $57, with the triple returning $319.50. Saturday's Pick 5 wager did not get hit, so Sunday's gimmick begins with a double-carryover of $6,426.84 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Reminder first post for the 'French' 10-race card is 11:30 AM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 13, 2017 - A from-last Massive Attack A (Jordan Stratton, $86) blew up Yonkers Raceway's first femme harness racing feature of 2017, Friday the 13th's $45,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Unhurried early from post position No. 3, the rank outsider watched as outside assignee Tessa Seelster (George Brennan) had to work getting around her five inside foes. 'Tessa' did just that just after a :27.1 opening quarter-mile, with pole-assigned Motu Moonbeam A (Tyler Buter) protecting the pocket and Velocity Vespa (Matt Kakaley) away third. She then rated a :29.4 next station (57-second half) before Bettor N Better (Jason Bartlett) moved from fourth. Things became interesting right around the 1:25.3 three-quarters when the leader-who had all sorts of equipment changes for this race-threatened to break for a handful of steps before losing it altogether. Tessa Seelster wound up leaving the course soon after as Bettor N Better was defaulted a two-length lead entering the lane. The first-up trip was about to do Bettor N Better in, however, as a second-over, even-money fave Hidden Land (Brent Holland, four winners on the 10-race card) went by. However, a third-up Massive Attack A made the last lead, rolling from third-up to win by a half-length in 1:54.3. Hidden Land did hold second, with Bettor N Better, Motu Moonbeam N and a placed-fifth Velocity Vespa completing the payees. Tessa Seelster wound up fifth-placed-sixth for her unscripted dance. For Massive Attack A, a now-6-year-old Down Under daughter of Advance Attack co-owned by (trainer) William Adamczyk, Alexander Kantonist, Joshua Schwartz and Raymond Hoegen Jr., it was a season-debuting victory. The exacta paid $295, with the triple returning $856. The bombardier was the prime culprit in Fridays 'unhit' Pick 5 wager, so Saturday night's gimmick begins with a carryover of $1,983.53 (50-cent base wager, races 6 through 10). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - Odds-on harness racing favorite Iron (Andy Miller, $3.70) lasted-barely-Tuesday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $25,000 featured trot. Wide early from post position No. 6, Iron worked around pole-sitting What a Peach (Dan Dube), then made the lead before a :28.4 opening quarter-mile. After a :58.3 intermission, Inukchuk Chuck (Jim Marshall III) moved from fourth. He hung around in and out of a 1:28.2 three-quarters as Iron owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. What a Peach had every chance up the inside, but missed a head in 1:57.4. Third went to 'Chuck,' with Dewdle All Day (Mark MacDonald) and Master Class (George Brennan) completing the cashers. For Iron, a now-5-year-old Cantab Hall gelding trained by Julie Miller for co-owners (breeder) K R Breeding, Frank Baldassare and Robert Rudolph, it was season-debuting win after just nine starts in 2016. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $11.60, the triple returned $34.80 and the superfecta paid $69.50. This story also (hopefully) serves as a reminder that Westchester Tuesdays are now evening programs, with the usual night first post of 7:10 PM. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 8, 2017- Red Hot Herbie (Jason Bartlett, $10.80) sat an antsy pocket Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing season-opening, mile-and-a-quarter, $75,000 Open Handicap Trot. The added-distance feature was the first of seven 'French' forays during the 11-race card, going with a field of nine after an early defection. Put in play from post position No. 4, Red Hot Herbie made the first lead before yielding to the lass Tweet Me (Pat Lachance). That one did her business through modest early intervals of :29.4 and :59.1. After a soft 1:29.1 three-quarters, 'Herbie' wanted out. He extricated himself from the pocket, going by the leader right around the 1:57.3 mile marker and taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. Red Hot Herbie held off Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a length-and-three-quarters in 2:27.3. Tweet Me stayed for third, with Money Maven (Andy Miller) and Kelsey's Keepsake (Joe Bongiorno) rounding out the payees. Not Afraid (Dan Dube) was a non-factor sixth as the 2-1 choice. For third choice Red Hot Herbie, a now-7-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bruce Soulsby and Edward Reppucci, it was a winning 2017 debut off a $160,000 season a year ago. The exacta paid $24.80, with the triple returning $129.50. Note that the return of the "New York, New York Double' was a scratch after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The wager is scheduled to make a '17 debut next Sunday (Jan. 15th). Also be advised Yonkers' early-season schedule is comprised of five nights (Mon/Tue/Thu/Fri/Sat) with a first post of 7:10 PM. The remaining January Sunday matinees (15th and 29th) are TBA as of this writing. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 6, 2017 - When Yonkers Raceway begins its 238-program, 2017 harness racing season this Sunday (Jan. 8th, first post 11:30 AM), it shall do so with a view of the races never seen before. During the three-week, end-of-year hiatus, the broadcast control room was completely overhauled and upgraded to accommodate high-definition transmission. All cameras involved in the broadcast are now HD, including those used to 'shoot' the races as well as winner's circle, paddock, drivers' building and our eye-in-the-sky drone. Yonkers is also offering an innovative graphics package, from post parade/statistical information to prices to driver head shots. The long-awaited movement of the finish line is scheduled to be finalized early in the 2017 season, leading to other upgrades. "We're very excited to complete this project," Mike Rooney, the Raceway's Director of Media Convergence, said. "It was time, since much of the equipment has been in use since we reopened in 2006. "The new equipment and technology allows us to offer the best video product available, and I'm sure our fans are going to notice a big difference." Images from the last vestiges of the old control room as well as the brand, spanking new one accompany this release. The Raceway's January schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (first post 7:10 PM), with the two other Sundays (15th and 29th) currently as TBA. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, January 3, 2017-Sunday (Jan. 8th) is showtime for Yonkers Raceway's 2017 season opener, with first post for the 11-race extravaganza at 11:30 AM. Please note this post time, as there was some scuttlebutt about a later one, but 11:30 AM is the gospel. The seven 'French' trots, led by a $75,000 Open Handicap, are races 4 through 10. Also note that Sunday is the return of the 'New York, New York Double,' featuring the third race from Aqueduct (post time 1:18 PM) and the sixth race from Yonkers (post 1:45 PM). Program pages shall be sent when available. Post time for the remaining two January Sundays (15th, 29th) are both TBA as of this writing. Horsemen are advised Yonkers is amending its usual 30-day rule and going with a 50-day rule between starts (provided satisfactory lines), through the draw for Saturday, Jan. 21st. A condition sheet is available at www.empirecitycasino.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/conditionsheet.pdf For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, December 29, 2016--The 'New York, New York Double,' featuring one race from Aqueduct Racetrack and one from Yonkers Raceway, is set to return in 2017. The gimmick, which began late in 2016, shall continue during all Yonkers' live Sundays, at least in the outset of the season, which begins Sunday, Jan. 8th (post time TBA, dates pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission). "We're happy to keep this wager going into 2017," Raceway COO Bob Galterio said. "The handle was steady when it was offered, and we and NYRA are both committed to including very competitive and challenging races for our fans. "Again, we appreciate the cooperation from all parties, including our horsemen, NYRA, its horsemen and the simulcast locations which have made this bet available to their horseplayers." Information about the races involved for Week 1--including race numbers and post times--shall be announced shortly. The 'New York, New York Double' remains a $1 minimum wager and has an 18½ percent takeout. Please be advised Yonkers has three January Sundays (8th, 15th and 29th) in its schedule. Past performance pages for the 'New York, New York Double' are to be included in on-track as well as simulcast programs. The wager is also available through any number of ADW portals, including Empire City Bets. Frank Drucker

With Opening Day 19 afternoons away, Yonkers Raceway has thrown down the gauntlet with oversized harness racing purses. The 2017 seasons begins-pending approval from the New York State Gaming Commission-with a 'French' Sunday, Jan. 8th (post time TBA). To offer appreciation to the rank and file, the first-day purse structure is highlighted by a $75,000 Open Handicap Trot (1¼ miles) and a $60,000 Open Handicap Pace (flat mile). Other classes also feature enhanced purses, which can be seen in this condition sheet. For more information, please contact the race office at (914) 457-2627.   Frank Drucker

Jason Bartlett and Rene Allard were once again Westchester's big cheeses, winning Yonkers Raceway's 2016 harness racing driver and trainer titles, respectively. The 235-program season (three postponements), which concluded this past Sunday (Dec. 18), saw Bartlett roll along to a sixth Yonkers title. The 35-year-old, originally from Augusta, ME, more than doubled Dan Dube, 576 wins to 287. Bartlett was also the busiest of the colony, leading with 2,336 drives (24.7 percent winning percentage) and more than $8.4 million in purses. George Brennan and Brian Sears wound up in a dead-heat for third with 284 wins each, though Sears did it with 583 fewer drivers. Jordan Stratton (247) rounded out the top five. Allard, a 29-year-old native of Quebec, sent out 233 winners, a dozen more than Tom Milici. Allard also led with 1,008 starters (23.1 percent winning percentage) and purses ($3.4 million). Richard Banca (180 wins), Jeffrey Bamond Jr. (98) and Ron Burke (90) completed the first quintet. The Raceway's 2017 season is set to begin with a Sunday (Jan. 8) matinee (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. Frank Drucker

Lily's Swan Pond (George Brennan, $25) was a three-hole terror Sunday afternoon, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing season-ending, mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. While a few of the nine participants--including 9-5 choice Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett)--misbehaved over the moist surface, 'Lily' had no such issues. From post position No. 3, he sat behind Not Afraid (Dan Dube) and Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) though early intervals of :28.2 and :57.4. Bentley Spur (Joe Bongiorno), one of the back markers, tried it first-up from sixth toward a 1:27.2 three-quarters, but couldn't sustain a bid. By the 1:56.4 milepost, this was a three-horse affair. Not Afraid owned a length-and-a-quarter into the lane, but holiday company was coming. Lily's Swan Pond angled crisply out during the final turn and went up and over the two rivals in front of him. He rolled past, winning by a length-and-half in 2:27.2. Not Afraid saved second over Springbank Sam N, with Tornado Tim (Brent Holland) and a recovering Caulfield (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For fifth choice Lily's Swan Pond, a 4-year-old Swan for All gelding owned by Second Chance Stable and trained by Nick Surick, it was his fifth win in 33 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $118.50, with the triple returning $474. The season's final installment of the "New York, New York Double' offered a 1-I'masuperstar (Aqueduct's 3rd race) and 4-Luck o' the Irish (our 2nd race) winning combination, which returned $25.50 for every correct dollar wager. Total pool was $4,169. The Raceway's 2017 season is scheduled to begin with a Sunday, Jan. 8th, matinee (post time TBA), pending approval of the New York State Gaming Commission. As another reminder, Yonkers is completely dark for all racing wagering December 19th through 28th, inclusive. Frank Drucker

Mach it So with usual harness racing driver Jason Bartlett in the bike picked off pace-setting First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) nearing the wire Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 Open Handicap Pace. As was the case a week, ago, the two lads led the way, with First Class Horse working around Mach it So-from outside post positions 7 and 6, respectively-right at the :27.3 opening quarter-mile. By a :56.4 intermission, pole-sitting Melmerby Beach (Brent Holland) tried it first-up from fifth, with minimal movement. First Class Horse continued to lead in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters, with a length-and-a-half advantage into the lane. It took a while, but Mach it So did get to the leader, prevailing by a neck in 1:52.3. First leader Limelight Beach (George Brennan) closed well up the cones by miss a half-length, with Blood Brother (Scott Zeron) and 7-5 fave The Real One (Pat Lachance) settling for the minors after both had way too much work to do. For second choice Mach it So, a 6-year-old Mach Three gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., it was his ninth win in 29 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $34.20, with the triple returning $199.50. The win in the feature was one of five for Bartlett in the 11-race program. The Raceway wraps up its 2016 live racing Sunday afternoon, with a 1 PM first post and a mandatory payout for the Pick 5 wager. Frank Drucker

A shrewdly-driven Mach it a Par (Jordan Stratton, $6.90) prevailed from the pocket Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $45,000 harness racing filly and mare Open Handicap Pace. Usually a authentic closer, Mach it a Par-from mandated post position No. 7-was put in play here, and it obviously served her well. She and eight-hole assignee Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) both cleared the inside half-dozen ladies, with a three-wide latter making the lead just after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. Longshot So Nice (Tyler Buter) left into a three-hole, which didn't do much for the cause of pole-sitting Regil Elektra (Dan Dube). The song remained the same at the :57.1 intermission, before Hidden Land (Brent Holland) moved...from seventh. Bedroomconfessions (Scott Zeron), as the tepid 2-1 fave, was away last and chased that one toward a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Mach it a Par was fidgety in the pocket, extricating it to grab a short lead in and out of the final turn. She then finished is off, winning by 2 lengths in 1:52.3. Hidden Land put in a fine effort, continuing first-up for second, with a needing-room Regil Elektra, Krispy Apple and Moto Moonbeam N (Matt Kakaley) rounding out the payees. Bedroomconfessions was devoid of pace and backpedaled to last. For second choice Mach it a Par, a 6-year-old daughter of Mach Three co-owned by D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P & Gandolfo Stables and trained by Rich Banca, it was her 13th win in 31 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $64, the triple returned $250 and the superfecta paid $1,143. Yonkers' 2016 live season concludes with cards Saturday (first post 7:10 PM) and Sunday (first post 1 PM). A reminder that there's no simulcasting Dec. 19th through 28th, inclusive and the '17 season begins Sunday (post time TBA, dates pending approval of New York State Gaming Commission). Frank Drucker

The new harness racing owner promotion at Yonkers Raceway held in conjunction with the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the United States Trotting Association comes to a close with 10 lucky new owners tasting victory and some strong returns. In early November, 10 harness racing fans were randomly chosen from the USTA new owner's database to each receive five percent of the earnings of a designated horse racing at Yonkers Raceway through the end of the meet. The 3-year-old trotting gelding Emerald Chip was chosen for the promotion with trainer Andrew Harris. Emerald Chip made five starts, including a win in his first start of the promotion, a $20,000 non-winners of four conditioned event. He moved up in class and made four starts in non-winners of six trotting events at Yonkers for purses of $25,000 and $32,000. Emerald Chip picked up checks for $2000 with a fourth and $1600 with a fifth place finish and also earned $500 for starting in a 10-horse field at Yonkers. For the five starts, Emerald Chip earned $14,100, netting each of the 10 virtual owners $705. As part of the promotion, the winners were not responsible for any expenses associated with the horse. I have to thank the SOA of NY, Yonkers Raceway and the USTA, said trainer Andrew Harris. Without movements like this, it's hard to show people how easy it is to get involved. It just takes a push in the right direction. We can make this business great again! The 2016 racing season at Yonkers Raceway concludes Sunday December 18 with a 1pm first post. Yonkers Raceway has submitted a 2017 calendar of 238 racing dates to the New York Gaming Commission with a proposed return to racing Sunday afternoon January 8. The opening day card in 2017 will feature purses boosted from their normal levels in appreciation of horsemen both old and new. TIME CHANGE FOR FINAL ‘NEW YORK, NEW YORK DOUBLE’ A bit of change in times for this Sunday (Dec. 18th) final 2016 ‘New York, New York Double’. Aqueduct has moved its first post up an hour, to 11:20 AM, to accommodate more races. Thus, the third race—first half of the gimmick double—now goes at 12:20 PM, instead of the originally-scheduled 1:18 PM. Yonkers’ season-ending first post remains at 1 PM sharp, with our second race—second half of the wager—going at 1:30 PM, as planned. Past performance pages for these races shall again be made available in all corresponding on-track and simulcast programs. The ‘New York, New York Double,’ also available through Empire City Bets, is a one dollar minimum wager and an 18.5 percent takeout rate. With Aqueduct having moved up the start of its Sunday program, Yonkers’ mutuel windows shall now open at 10:30 AM. Frank Drucker

In what has become an annual tradition and much-anticipated by social-service organizations, Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway president & CEO Timothy J. Rooney will present the hundreds of new toys and gently-used coats collected in Empire City's 10th Annual "Christmas Spirit" Toy and Coat Drive. The donated items will be presented to Catholic Charities Thursday (Dec. 15TH) at 10:30 AM at the valet entrance of the casino. Donations will be accepted by the Catholic Charities executive director Monsignor Kevin Sullivan and others providing social services to families in need. Josh Blake, president of California-based and family-owned The Gander Group, is bringing some West Coast warmth to area families in need by donating hundreds of toys to the annual drive, while John Lennon, owner of Yonkers-based Smart Move & Storage, will again generously donate services to transport and store of all donations while they are distributed by local community organizations. The "Christmas Spirit" Toy and Coat Drive began Nov. 1st and generous donors have given over 600 toys and hundreds of coats. Thousands of toys and coats have been donated since 2007, when the campaign was launched. Local elected officials will also join Rooney & Sullivan. Nearly 10 percent of Westchester county's population is living in poverty, and 31 percent of that number is under the age of seventeen. For more information, to RSVP or for any media inquiries, please contact Taryn Duffy (tduffy@empirecitycasino.com, 914-457-2431) or John Cirillo (johnnycigarpr@aol.com, 914-260-7436). Frank Drucker

This Sunday (Dec. 18th) brings the end of Yonkers Raceway's live harness racing season, and-not coincidentally-the final 2016 rendition of the 'New York, New York Double'. With Yonkers' first post at 1 PM sharp, the Sunday's sequence begins with Aqueduct's third race (post time 1:18 PM), then our second race (post time 1:30 PM). The 'New York, New York Double' is a cooperative effort between the New York Racing Association (NYRA), Yonkers Raceway and their respective horsemen. Past performance pages for these races shall again be made available in all corresponding on-track and simulcast programs. The 'New York, New York Double,' also available through Empire City Bets, is a one dollar minimum wager and an 18.5 percent takeout rate. Frank Drucker

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